Tourism sector boosted by grants pledge

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Tourism chiefs have backed plans by the Scottish Government to plough £220 million into further grants for businesses.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance said the move would see the Small Business Grant Scheme (SBGS) extended to ensure small business rate payers will be eligible for a 75 per cent grant on additional properties.

That would mean help for those tourism businesses with several properties on their books for which they have to pay rates.

There would be a further £100 million fund to ‘protect’ self-employed people and micro and small-to-medium enterprise businesses, many of which work in tourism, the STA added.

Chief executive Marc Crothall said the STA had worked hard lobbying officials to highlight concerns across the tourism sector.

Mr Crothall said: ‘We have highlighted evidence of gaps where support is not reaching those who need it within the industry in these conversations and it is heartening to know that the representation of the majority of our asks on behalf of Scotland’s tourism industry have been listened to and understood.

‘We will, of course, look forward to learning the detail of the announcement in the coming days and will offer comment on behalf of our members at that time.’

Liz Cameron OBE, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, also welcomed the news and said it had highlighted the ‘gaping anomaly’ between the financial support available for businesses with more than one property in Scotland compared to businesses in the rest of the UK.

‘Today’s announcement is a positive step in the right direction which will give much-needed financial relief to many small businesses.

‘We are also pleased to hear the Scottish Government is providing support to newly self-employed people not eligible for other schemes.

‘Questions still remain on the criteria and speed of delivery and ministers must provide businesses with reassurance that cash support will be released quickly. The harsh reality of this situation means any delays in support is the difference between a business going under or surviving.’